Logical argument in favour of dualism.

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Logical argument in favour of dualism.

Postby Lizard250 » Wed Sep 30, 2015 4:53 pm

Arguments against monotheism:
1. If there is only one god, who is simultaneously omnibenevolent, omnipotent and omniscient, then:
1.1. Why does this god allow extreme and unnecessary sufferance to thrive throughout his creation? Where does "evil" (what this god finds undesirable) originate from?
1.2. If the answer to the question "where does 'evil' originate from" is "free will" (the ability to make choices freely), and doubt is "sinful" (causing doubters to incur this god's wrath), why would a benevolent god give us both "science" (the ability to question and reason) and "free will" (the ability to make choices freely) simultaneously, knowing that it will inevitably lead to individuals incurring his wrath by engaging in doubt?
1.3. Why does this god despise so many positive aspects of his own creation, going as far as to mandate extremely cruel and dangerous practices intended to suppress them? How can a god who is simultaneously omnibenevolent, omnipotent and omniscient create beings whose needs and desires offend him, knowing that the suppression of such needs and desires will lead to the creations in question having to choose between deprivation or incurring divine wrath?
1.4. Why is there so much physical evidence which contradicts the stories who are supposed to be the literal word of god (e.g. genetics and fossils providing evidence of human evolution, ancient texts and artefacts providing evidence for the polytheistic origins of Judaism, etc...)? If the answer to this question is "it's a test of faith" or "the devil did it, even though he's weaker than god": see points 1.1 and 1.2.
2. If there is only one god who is malevolent, then why do we not suffer 24/7? If the answer is that "he allows us joy in order to cause greater suffering", why would he need to do so if he is omnipotent? Why would he not use his omnipotence to maximize suffering by creating a hell on earth?
3. If there is only one god who is not omnipotent, what limits his power? How did he make the universe without assistance? If he had assistance, who provided this assistance?
4. If there is only one god who is not omnipotent, what limits his knowledge? How did he make the universe without assistance? If he had assistance, who provided this assistance?

Arguments against polytheism:
1. If there are multiple gods, all of whom are benevolent: see the above problems with benevolent monotheism. If these benevolent gods are in disagreement over what is "good" (pleases them) and "evil" (displeases them): see the below problems with "individualist polytheism" (multiple gods with free will and various different goals).
2. If there are more than two gods, why is this necessary? What justifies such complexity?
2.1 What would prevent multiple nigh-omnipotent gods from joining together to form greater entities together with other, similar gods?
- If the answer to this question is "they have free will and want to do as they please": see point 1.
- If the answer to this question is "they are not nigh-omnipotent", what is the limit of their power? If they had to cooperate to create the world, how did many gods with vastly different goals manage to do so for long enough? Do they have a god of their own, and if so, can you honestly call them gods?

Arguments against atheism:
1. If there is no creator deity, what caused the world to exist?
2. If the answer to the above question is "natural phenomena" (e.g. the big bang), why did such "natural phenomena" lead to existence? How did such "natural phenomena" itself come into existence? How does existence itself exist and continue to do so?
3. If there is no god whatsoever, then life requires unnecessarily complicated explanations in order to make logical sense.


Thus;
In accordance with Occam's razor, the simplest logical explanation (at our current level of knowledge) for the existence of the logically-consistent universe in spite of the problems above is Dualism. Indeed, the only logical explanation for the existence of such a flawed and fragile universe, taking into account the above problems, without needing to resort to absurdly complex, bizarre and irrational concepts, is the existence of two eternal, flawed and opposing deities, one benevolent and one malevolent, who keep a "flawed balance" (equal presence of benevolence and malevolence, resulting in sum neutrality) throughout the universe.
These two deities would be eternal in the sense that they are essentially "personifications" of benevolence and malevolence themselves. The benevolent deity being essentially the "personification" of the existence of all that is "intrinsically good" (joy, pleasure, freedom, justice, honesty, etc...), and the the malevolent deity being essentially the "personification" of the existence of all that is "intrinsically evil" (sufferance, deprivation, oppression, injustice, corruption, etc...).
These two deities would be flawed in the sense that they are neither truly omnipotent (each having omnipotence only within their domain, benevolence and malevolence respectively) nor free-willed (each being subject to the limits of reason and neutral rules of logic).

Work In Progress.
Last edited by Lizard250 on Wed Sep 30, 2015 10:12 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Logical arguments in favour of dualism.

Postby TheNewGuy » Wed Sep 30, 2015 5:15 pm

Lizard250 wrote:Arguments against monotheism:
2. If there is only one god who is malevolent, then why do we not suffer 24/7?


I think this point is shallowly reasoned. Can we assume that a malevolent deity would cause us to suffer 24/7? Suffering (and joy, in counterpose) are both more thoroughly made real by the existence of their counterparts. If you never know true joy, then you do not suffer in the same way as you do when you have felt joy and now feel it replaced by suffering. Joy, as well, is best enjoyed in a relative sense, as compared to suffering. Without one it is impossible to truly know the other. If you want to argue for a malevolent god, in your words, could it not be that that malevolent god allows us to feel joy simply because he later enjoys the extra suffering which the absence of that joy causes us? The same could be said in the opposite direction - a benevolent god could allow suffering so as to show us the true value of joy, so that we better appreciate the good things we have because we know that bad things exist.

You've dramatically oversimplified both of these characterizations, by the way. Why should we assume a "simultaneously omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient" being is the only type of being that is capable of being a god? Why could a being who is One not entail both of the dualistic traits you mention - benevolence and malevolence - at once? You're limiting your thinking to black and white too much. On a more meta-level, if in your dual system the benevolent and the malevolent deities cannot exist either without the other, then why can we not see the two as necessary pieces of a larger One? Your argument is monotheistic, too, just a more developed argument for monotheism.

You ought to read Dostoevsky's "Grand Inquistor", if you haven't it's a sort of mini-story in the larger "Brothers Karamazov," but it's a fascinating discussion on topics related to your OP.

P.S. This is a great thread.
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Re: Logical arguments in favour of dualism.

Postby Lizard250 » Wed Sep 30, 2015 5:46 pm

I further developed the argument against a single malevolent god.

TheNewGuy wrote:If you never know true joy, then you do not suffer in the same way as you do when you have felt joy and now feel it replaced by suffering. Joy, as well, is best enjoyed in a relative sense, as compared to suffering. Without one it is impossible to truly know the other. If you want to argue for a malevolent god, in your words, could it not be that that malevolent god allows us to feel joy simply because he later enjoys the extra suffering which the absence of that joy causes us? The same could be said in the opposite direction - a benevolent god could allow suffering so as to show us the true value of joy, so that we better appreciate the good things we have because we know that bad things exist.


I disagree that one cannot experience joy (pleasure) without sufferance (pain). Individuals who have never experienced pleasure will still instinctively feel sufferance when subject to deprivation or injury (e.g. an individual raised in complete isolation beginning from the moment they are born, fed only with tasteless gruel which gives no pleasure, would still suffer if they were to be starved).
However, assuming that you are correct, I would argue that the only reason we cannot experience joy without contrasting it to sufferance is because we are flawed by design (due to having been simultaneously created by two entities with opposing intentions).

TheNewGuy wrote:On a more meta-level, if in your dual system the benevolent and the malevolent deities cannot exist either without the other, then why can we not see the two as necessary pieces of a larger One? Your argument is monotheistic, too, just a more developed argument for monotheism.


Interesting observation.

However, I would tend to consider the two deities as being subject to a non-theistic "force" (logic, if you will) which binds them together and limits their actions (like how gods are considered bound by karma in Buddhism; they create and manage worlds yet still must adhere to a supreme natural law).

TheNewGuy wrote:P.S. This is a great thread.


Thanks.
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Re: Logical arguments in favour of dualism.

Postby TheNewGuy » Wed Sep 30, 2015 10:44 pm

I maintain that you're creating strawmen in a lot of your "arguments against." It's very hard to construct a realistic picture of the actual logic that goes into belief structures. "Omnibenevolent", "omnipotent", and "omniscient" are all stereotypical suppositions about monotheistic belief that cannot be said prima facea to apply in all cases. It is possible, for instance, to believe in a God who is both-at-once benevolent and malevolent. It is also oversimplification to suspect that benevolence and malevolence are the only two forces possible, and it is further a leap to suppose that benevolence and malevolence are necessarily opposing forces. My own area of strongest knowledge is in Judaism (though my knowledge is admittedly shallow), and an argument can be made (as an example. Many arguments can be made for the most inherent value in a deity) that God is neither benevolent nor malevolent, but is in fact just. Seen through the lens of justice, acts attributed to God that appear to be benevolent or malevolent to humanity could in fact be parts in a larger Divine plan which will bring about justice in the end of times and which humanity cannot even fathom in our short and limited lives. It is said that the Jews are a "chosen people" and must therefore suffer so that humanity as a whole, Jews and non-Jews, can learn whatever lesson it is that God intends to teach through that suffering. My argument, essentially, is one that you have not yet addressed, namely: God acts in ways that man cannot fathom, for reasons that man cannot comprehend. I'm not saying that I buy that argument myself, but my real point is that there are about as many reasons for belief in a monotheistic God as there are believers in a monotheistic God, and so you'll need to be far more comprehensive in your arguments against if you want to really deconstruct the principle as a whole.

Lizard250 wrote:Interesting observation.

However, I would tend to consider the two deities as being subject to a non-theistic "force" (logic, if you will) which binds them together and limits their actions (like how gods are considered bound by karma in Buddhism; they create and manage worlds yet still must adhere to a supreme natural law).


You explained above that you're using the principle of Occam's Razor in your reasoning. We therefore are required to not presuppose the existence of "higher" beings to which our deities are bound. If your argument for two separate and independent deities will stand, then it must stand without the assumption of some binding "force" to which the two are subject.

1. If the Two are independent (meaning that the Universe could exist without one or the other, although the Universe would be essentially different) but subject to a Force without which they would either not exist or they would exist as One:
1a. We should just understand the Force (heh!) as the most supreme, inherent, and necessary piece of the equation. We then are engaged in a different but similar conversation: why does the Force require the Two, and not simply rule as One?
2. If the Two are co-dependent (meaning that both are necessary for the existence of the other, that if one were to disappear the Universe would end) and subject to a Force without which they would either not exist or they would exist as One:
2a. We should simply understand them as One, and we should still understand the Force as supreme. We don't change much from our question in 1a., namely: why does the Force require the Two-who-are-One, and not simply rule as One?
3. If the Two are co-dependent and not subject to a Force higher:
3a. We should simply understand them as One, because they are co-dependent. This is the argument I was making in my last post.
4. The most firm argument you can make for Dualism, in my opinion, is therefore that there are Two who are independent, who could exist without one another, though the Universe would be essentially different. Some difficulties extend from this:
4a. From whence do the Two come?
4b. If both are not necessary for the existence of the other, why has one not triumphed over the other? Why, in essence, do we need Two if One could do, even if the existence of One would mean a fundamentally different Universe? Occam's Razor requires us to suppose the existence of One, unless there is some necessity for the existence of the Second.
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Re: Logical argument in favour of dualism.

Postby TheNewGuy » Fri Oct 02, 2015 10:30 pm

:( don't let this die!
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Re: Logical arguments in favour of dualism.

Postby Lizard250 » Sun Oct 04, 2015 5:49 pm

TheNewGuy wrote:I maintain that you're creating strawmen in a lot of your "arguments against."


I'm arguing against the most well known beliefs in each category (i.e. Abrahamic monotheism, "chaotic" polytheism and naturalistic atheism). There's not much need to explain why dualism is superior to, say, scientology because few people believe in it (with most already recognizing it as irrational).


TheNewGuy wrote:It's very hard to construct a realistic picture of the actual logic that goes into belief structures. "Omnibenevolent", "omnipotent", and "omniscient" are all stereotypical suppositions about monotheistic belief that cannot be said prima facea to apply in all cases.

It is possible, for instance, to believe in a God who is both-at-once benevolent and malevolent. It is also oversimplification to suspect that benevolence and malevolence are the only two forces possible, and it is further a leap to suppose that benevolence and malevolence are necessarily opposing forces.


I believe that benevolence and malevolence are inherently and fundamentally incompatible with each other by virtue of joy being a zero-sum game (pleasure - pain = joy), yet I also believe that benevolence and malevolence are partially objective (pleasure is good, sufferance is bad; benevolence promotes pleasure, malevolence promotes sufferance) and partially subjective (i.e. what's good for the predator is bad for the prey, what's good for the prey is bad for the predator).

Thus, I would consider your argument to be completely valid if I was to assume that there is one god who is not acting in the interest of humans, but rather in the interest of some other beings who are completely unlike humans in nature. Such a god would be seen by humans as simultaneously benevolent and malevolent, whilst in reality having a "blue and orange" spectrum of morality perfectly tailored to the beings who are the centre of his attention. However, this brings up three new questions: what creatures has this god centred his morality around, why has he centred his morality around them and why is he forcing humans to follow their moral code?

Under dualism, the good god is omnibenevolent (benevolent to all humans), whilst the evil god is omnimalevolent (malevolent to all humans). It is also worth noting that benevolence is not pacifism (thus the benevolent god will gladly allow sufferance in order to prevent a greater amount of sufferance, stop those who promote malevolence or otherwise promote a benevolent cause, such as by promoting a revolutionary war), and that malevolence is not mindless violence (thus the malevolent god will gladly allow pleasure in order to prevent a greater amount of pleasure, preserve those who promote malevolence or otherwise promote a malevolent cause, such as by promoting dictatorship).

TheNewGuy wrote:My own area of strongest knowledge is in Judaism (though my knowledge is admittedly shallow), and an argument can be made (as an example. Many arguments can be made for the most inherent value in a deity) that God is neither benevolent nor malevolent, but is in fact just.


Justice can be explained more simply as a human intellectual construct based on an intrinsic desire to competitively maximise pleasure and minimize pain (humans naturally want to simultaneously maximize their own pleasure and their enemies' suffering), derived from humanity's instinctive participation in the perpetual struggle between the two gods (most humans are naturally benevolent and seek to defeat what is evil, but being flawed, can be manipulated into following malevolent leaders and seeking to defeat what is good).

If a god with his own concept of justice has created humanity, why does our concept justice differ so much from his? Why does he want us to follow a plan we cannot comprehend, when he could have made us all understand it?

TheNewGuy wrote:Seen through the lens of justice, acts attributed to God that appear to be benevolent or malevolent to humanity could in fact be parts in a larger Divine plan which will bring about justice in the end of times and which humanity cannot even fathom in our short and limited lives.


This brings up a variant of the problem of doubt. If there is only one god whose justice is incomprehensible, this will lead many to doubt him (and consequently incur his wrath). Can an omnipotent god who purposely creates a rigged system, which strongly encourages prohibited acts and deters proscribed ones, truly be called "just"? If so, why did this omniscient god need to create a "neutral plane" where all humans are subject to his manipulation? Why does he not, knowing who is bound for reward and who is bound for punishment, simply place all individuals directly in either heaven or hell?

TheNewGuy wrote:My argument, essentially, is one that you have not yet addressed, namely: God acts in ways that man cannot fathom, for reasons that man cannot comprehend.


If that is the case, this god is not omnipotent nor omniscient, as he must act in a certain way (by creating and following a plan he cannot explain to us) in order to produce a desired effect he cannot directly control. If this god is bound by an uncontrollable need only he can comprehend, where does this need come from and why can he not explain it to those who must follow him?

TheNewGuy wrote:You explained above that you're using the principle of Occam's Razor in your reasoning. We therefore are required to not presuppose the existence of "higher" beings to which our deities are bound. If your argument for two separate and independent deities will stand, then it must stand without the assumption of some binding "force" to which the two are subject.


This binding "force" is not a deity. It is simply a law which exists by virtue of mathematical limitation (just as 1+1 cannot = 6, a god cannot act in a way which is inconceivable).

TheNewGuy wrote:1. If the Two are independent (meaning that the Universe could exist without one or the other, although the Universe would be essentially different) but subject to a Force without which they would either not exist or they would exist as One:
1a. We should just understand the Force (heh!) as the most supreme, inherent, and necessary piece of the equation. We then are engaged in a different but similar conversation: why does the Force require the Two, and not simply rule as One?
2. If the Two are co-dependent (meaning that both are necessary for the existence of the other, that if one were to disappear the Universe would end) and subject to a Force without which they would either not exist or they would exist as One:
2a. We should simply understand them as One, and we should still understand the Force as supreme. We don't change much from our question in 1a., namely: why does the Force require the Two-who-are-One, and not simply rule as One?
3. If the Two are co-dependent and not subject to a Force higher:
3a. We should simply understand them as One, because they are co-dependent. This is the argument I was making in my last post.
4. The most firm argument you can make for Dualism, in my opinion, is therefore that there are Two who are independent, who could exist without one another, though the Universe would be essentially different. Some difficulties extend from this:
4a. From whence do the Two come?
4b. If both are not necessary for the existence of the other, why has one not triumphed over the other? Why, in essence, do we need Two if One could do, even if the existence of One would mean a fundamentally different Universe? Occam's Razor requires us to suppose the existence of One, unless there is some necessity for the existence of the Second.


1. This "force", being "mathematical" in nature, "requires" two opposed deities because two opposed deities are the most logical and simple explanation for the nature of the universe.
2. The force requires the two to be separate, as only two separate individuals can truly oppose each other logically and consistently in a manner which results in physical conflict.
3. Neither can triumph over the other as both are completely equal in power. Thus they are neither truly codependent nor truly independent, as they can exist independently (which would profoundly change the nature of the universe by turning it into either heaven or hell) but cannot achieve independence (as they can only be separated by their own actions, but neither has enough power to achieve victory over the other).
4. The two are eternal "personifications" of benevolence and malevolence.
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Re: Logical argument in favour of dualism.

Postby Amazeroth » Mon Oct 05, 2015 2:20 am

I'd say there are two large problems with the OP (at first glance). The first lies with the arguments against monotheism, which are, as least as far as I know, almost routinely answered by both Judaism and Christianity, and probably Islam as well, at least when they apply in the first place. There is also the fundamental difference that all large monotheistic religions rely on revelation (which is then backed up by rational examination, or at least attempted to back up), and not on the idea that it would be possible to logically conclude that God (as defined by these relgions) exists without him revealing his existance. To use an analogy - if you've already seen (or believe to have seen) the cause of an event, you no longer need to theorise what might have caused it.

The second problem is that there are huge illogical leaps within the arguments for dualism (the idea that it would have to be good vs bad when it could be any opposed ideas, that it has to be two and not just one entity that's of varying "morality" - like the idea of an essentially insane god), and the second is that it relies deeply on subjective and ill-defined concepts such as good and bad (and then using them later as synonyms for suffering and joy, which they wouldn't necessarily be).

Also, Ockham's razor can't really be applied when there's no way to say which explanation is more simple. And perhaps the biggest flaw is the idea that anything outside, or transcending time and space as a god would, would somehow have to be bound to logic.

I could go into much more detail, but unless you want me to I don't want to disturb the ongoing discussion.
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Re: Logical argument in favour of dualism.

Postby Hrafn » Mon Oct 05, 2015 5:12 am

3. If there is no god whatsoever, then life requires unnecessarily complicated explanations in order to make logical sense.
Like what?

Good thread anyway. Philosophy is more interesting than elections.
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Re: Logical argument in favour of dualism.

Postby Lizard250 » Mon Oct 05, 2015 1:04 pm

Hrafn wrote:
3. If there is no god whatsoever, then life requires unnecessarily complicated explanations in order to make logical sense.

Like what?


The following are some of the "fundamental pillars" of mainstream atheism which require extremely complex explanations:
- Existence creating and stabilizing itself through random chance.
- Energy originating from nothingness.
- Matter being created from nothing.
- Abiogenesis through random chance.
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Re: Logical argument in favour of dualism.

Postby MichaelReilly » Mon Oct 05, 2015 4:04 pm

Hrafn wrote:
3. If there is no god whatsoever, then life requires unnecessarily complicated explanations in order to make logical sense.
Like what?

Good thread anyway. Philosophy is more interesting than elections.


How very dare you. :lol:
Down with this sort of thing
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